A PROFESSIONAL climber has become the first blind person to successfully lead an expedition to scale the 450-foot high Old Man of Hoy in Orkney.

Jesse Dufton, a GB paraclimber, and his sighted partner Molly Thompson, made history when they reached the summit of the famous landmark after seven hours of climbing.

Dufton lead-climbed the classic East Face Route, the route Chris Bonington first used to ascend the stack in 1966 – climbing it again for the BBC’s The Great Climb in 1967.

Thompson seconded after Dufton and offered placement tips throughout the climb via hands-free radio. However, due to the nature of the challenge, Dufton often had to climb on feel alone. He said the climb was the “most adventurous” he has ever done and that it was an “epic” experience.

The team had to walk for more than an hour from the campsite, and then ascend the steep, slippy cliffs to the base of the stack. Due to the weather, climbing did not commence

until 3pm and the amount of daylight remaining became a constant worry.

The ascent marks the culmination of a joint project between Jesse and director Alastair Lee, who is making a film about the blind climber to form part of the 2019 Brit Rock Film Tour.